Baptists – “Bushcraft”
Some bands are so abrasive that you can’t listen to them very often but, fortunately, that’s not Baptists’ case. They are able to put out those filthy, reckless, angry riffs in a very natural and direct way without that feeling that they’re trying too hard to sound aggressive. “Bushcraft” is actually their first album, which is also astonishing, and it was recorded at God City Studios. Always remember that there is not a single record from God City that sounds bad. Kurt Ballou is the shit, period. The whole album is pretty much always fast and angry but there are also tracks in which you can breathe. Still, you never loose the eagerness to continue the roller coaster journey. “Soiled Roots” is one of the best slow-tempo, anguish tracks ever made, really! It’s insanely disturbing. Also, I have to mention that the drummer is one of the most creative I’ve ever came across.
The album feels like a fucking tornado twist. The vocals are perfect. The drum patterns are sick. And the riffs are really well balanced, they’re not too techy and they’re are not boring. Great job guys, it is not easy to came up with an album of this sort.
Coilguns – “Commuters”
Coilguns is the fusion of a time machine, Luc Hess, and a filthy machine, Jonathan Nido. Louis Jucker is the cherry on top of the cake.
The whole concept behind the album is incredible, and it’s one of a kind really. As the tittle might suggest, this is a very straight forward album, recorded live with killer, fast tracks. It is not one of those albums that were thought for a long time. Actually, I tend to regard this album as Jona Nido taking a really huge crap. The thing is that this is Nido’s crap, and it happens that his crap is fucking awesome. That’s it. This album doesn’t even deserves to be fully commented. Just listen you fuckers! By the away, the artwork is amazing. If you open the whole digipack you get an inverted cross (of a regular one if you’re dumb enough).
Cult of Luna – “Vertikal”
Unlike the previous album, this album reflects much more care and attention. I guess I can say that CoL are veterans. When a band puts out a record like “Salvation” I believe there is not much to say.
First of all, it is inspired in the film “Metropolis” directed by Fritz Lang. The whole album is really well thought, I would say that this is the most coherent album of the year. Its cohesion is absolutely undeniable. Each track feels like a complete journey. It is unfair to pick one of those but “Vicarious Redemption” is simply epic. I had the chance to see CoL live during the european tour of this record and I have to say that they’re one of the best bands I’ve seen live. They have the best light show. And they know how to behave on stage, they are actors on stage. In that aspect they’re really one step ahead. CoL is a one of a kind experience. Don’t skip it.
Deafheaven – “Sunbather”
I don’t have much to say about Deafheaven. I saw them live at Amplifest and they were the best band on stage. Their presence is unbelievable even though the texture of the music is very constant. It’s amazing to feel the drummer crushing the whole shit and George Clack is an amazing frontman. He has a unique, distinct personality on stage. Musically, Deafheaven is not my cup of tea but whenever something is really well done you have to admit it. “Dreamhouse” is one of the best opening tracks of the year.
KEN Mode – “Entrench”
Lo! – “Monstrorum Historia”
Here’s the surprise of this post – Lo! These guys are from Australia and this is their second record via Pelagic Records. I will not say much about the album, just listen. Lo! are special because they give high doses of chaos without being sloppy, they’re solid and very tight. Each track is really well-balanced but they never lose that hardcore rawness. I love the vocals, love the writing approach. Shit this is a great, underrated band…
Nails – “Abandon All Life”
Oathbreaker – “Eros|Anteros”
There is so much to say about Oathbreaker but I’ll just state that the best two calm tracks of the year are “The Abyss Looks Into Me” and “Clair Obscur”.
The Ocean – “Pelagial”
First of all, I have to confess that I usually say that The Ocean is my favourite band so expect some fan boy shit. The main reason why is because Robin Staps is THE genius of contemporary heavy music. Why? 1) Although he is german, he writes the best lyrics in the heavy music scene. And I am referring to both vocabulary and the content of each track. 2) He always comes up with a killer concept album that combines atmospheric parts and heavy stuff – Fluxion/Aeolian; Precambrian; Heliocentric/Anthropocentric. 3) Since the beginning of the band, Robin took care of the visual part of the shows. The lights are perfectly synchronized with the music and the shows are always accompanied with video projections.
Notice that to convince you I didn’t mention a single aspect concerning the music. That’s because I believe that what’s special about The Ocean is the way they ‘take care’ of their concept. Tell me, who would ever thought about writing an album about a journey from the top to the bottom of the ocean? And who would come up with the idea of producing a DVD to play along the whole thing?
About the “Pelagial” tracks, well they certainly have a different vibe than the previous efforts. I think that in this record you can appreciate every aspect of Robin’s approach to music blended in each track. It seems that their songs are much more uniform. The fact that there are riffs that are repeated along the album contributes to that aspect as well. The only disappointment of the album, in my opinion, is that the two Hadopelagic tracks kind of let the vibe of the album die out. In that respect, I think that the album lacks the kind of deep, imposing atmosphere that “Precambrian” for instance has. Lyrically, it is by far the best album of the year.
All in all, this is the most ambitious project of the year and only Robin could be its headmaster.
Rorcal – “Világvége”
Terra Tenebrosa – “The Purging”
Terra Tenebrosa, what a perfect name. First of all, these enlightened guys from Sweden descend from the extinct Breach, if you don’t know them, shame on you. “The Purging” is the album that follows “The Tunnels”, another great album.
What’s great about them? No one ever created an atmosphere of this kind. It is so sinister, so earthy and haunted. The best image I have would be crossing a forest full of orcs in a “Lord of the Rings” kind of atmosphere. Listening to this album is such a unique experience, you overhear sordid screams of suffering, you feel that you’re body is getting corrupt and the whole space is disintegrating. Serious shit-in-the-pants kind of thing, wear diapers.
Zozobra – “Savage Masters”
NOTE: I didn’t listen to the new Russian Circles’ record. And, by the way, I strongly disagree that the new The Dillinger Escape Plan’s is one of the best of the year.